UN sends special envoy to Saudi Arabia, Iran

UN sends special envoy to Saudi Arabia, Iran

Monday, January 4, 2016 9:16 pm

Saudi Foreign Minister: Mr Abel bin Al-Jubeir

Saudi Foreign Minister: Mr Abel bin Al-Jubeir

The United Nations Spokesman, Steplane DuJarrick, has said that UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, is visiting Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

DuJarrick told reporters on Monday in New York that de Mistura would also visit Iran later in the week.

He said that during the visits, the Special Envoy would assess the implications of the recent developments between Saudi Arabia and Iran on the momentum of the Vienna process for Syria.

The spokesman said that de Mistura believed that the crisis in Saudi-Iranian relations ”is a very worrisome development”.

DuJarrick told reporters that the envoy stressed the need to ensure that the development did not cause a chain of adverse consequences in the region.

Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relations with Iran on Sunday, following the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr and 46 other prisoners by Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Ayatollah Khameini

Ayatollah Khameini

The Saudi authorities gave Iranian diplomats 48 hours to leave the country as the kingdom’s execution of the cleric inflamed sectarian tensions.

In a related development, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, on Monday, urged Saudi Arabia and Iran to avoid any actions that could further exacerbate the situation between the two countries and in the region as a whole.

Ban made the call in a telephone call he made to Mr Abel bin Al-Jubeir, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia and Mr Mohammad Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister.

According to a readout to UN correspondents in New York, Ban stresses the importance of continued constructive engagement by both countries in the interest of the region and beyond.

In his conversation with the Iranian foreign minister, Ban recalled his statement on the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr and 46 other prisoners by Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

He further recalled his condemnation of the attack at the Saudi embassy in Tehran and urged the foreign minister to take the necessary measures to protect diplomatic facilities in the country.

Speaking with the Saudi Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir, the secretary-general reiterated his views on capital punishment and his disappointment over the execution of al-Nimr, whose case he said was raised by the Saudi authorities on several occasions.

The secretary-general reiterated that the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was deplorable.

Ban said that the announcement of a break in Saudi diplomatic relations with Tehran was deeply worrying.

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